Commentary on the Gospel of
Elijah’s Corrective Call
Elijah wasn’t originally called by God. Burning with zeal for Yahweh and unable to stand His rejection by the nation, Elijah took upon himself the task of defending Yahweh. He drew up plans, never really consulting God’s mind. All his plans smacked of a God of grandiosity—a projection of his own narcissistic grandiosity on to God. At some point, the balloon must burst, and it did. Following the success on Mount Carmel, Elijah suffers success-depression, turns suicidal, lodges himself in the cave where Moses had received a grandiose theophany. Now that Elijah is broken and is willing to learn, God offers the corrective—first by granting him a theophany contrary to the one Moses had, thereby teaching him that God is not to be sought in grandiose spectacles, but in the sound of sheer silence; and then by commissioning him for God’s own projects which includes anointing his own successor as well. To his credit, Elijah obeys and is a changed man, with a new God-experience and a humbler self.